The first thing I did this morning was checking the Google calendar on my phone. I’ve been starting this way each day for the past three months. Last night, I saw 5 free Zoom calls scheduled for today by people who wanted to see me for a free discovery call. I wonder, how many of them will actually make it, today? How many cancellations and reschedulings will occur today?
Let’s see… The first call is at 8 am. I put myself together to look professional, drink a cup of warm water with lemon and walk to my home office. My computer is on. It’s never off these days! I touch the mouse and enter the password. The desktop shows time: 7:50 am… still a bit too early to open my Zoom room for the first call. I sip the warm water and begin thinking…
What kind of people will I meet today? Will I see individuals that have just recently started experiencing speech difficulties and searching for a stuttering solution first time? Will my callers be skeptical adults who have already lost their hope after they repeatedly failed years of the battle with stuttering in various “treatment” places? Or, maybe, I will see frustrated parents of a young child whose speech quality is not getting any better after hundreds of speech therapy sessions? These last ones usually say: “My child spoke very well when he was little, but then, when he was 3 (could have been 3 – 12!), something happened….. we don’t exactly know what happened…. but he SUDDENLY STARTED TO STUTTER.”
It is my mission today to explain to all these struggling people that no matter how old or young we are, it is inevitable to always stutter while attempting to speak without clearly knowing what and how to say or not being 100% focused on the accuracy of our speech actions.
It’s 7:58 am – time to open my Zoom room. Let’s find out who needs my help and what kind of struggles they are facing daily. I will do my best to help them understand the truth behind their struggles and show the path to liberation of their beautiful speech for a prosperous life.
To understand the answer to the question in the title and all other questions about stuttering, it’s crucial to first have a clear understanding of what speaking and stuttering REALLY are.
Speaking is an instrumental action similar to playing any musical instrument in resonance with the melody desired by a musician. Each of us is a musician playing our speech instrument called the speech pipe. The part of the instrument that we use at the moment instantly sends feedback to our mind through our senses. This sensory information enters our brain and consciousness automatically.
Stuttering is the misuse of a speech instrument by its user who is unfamiliar with its structure and the correct way of using it and/or not focused on the correct speaking action at the moment.
“What is a Speech Instrument?” – you may ask.
All people are born with the same musical wind instrument for playing word melodies of their voice. It is built of muscles inside of the body and is called a Speech Pipe. People begin learning the basic skills of playing it in early childhood and continue to enhance their speech mastery for the whole life. And of course, it is inevitable to make mistakes while taking the first steps towards learning a new skill!
Normally, people spend several childhood years developing their body-mind coordination for speaking. They learn to move their Speech Pipe muscles for playing words with accuracy and ease. Natural errors of this muscle training never stop young speech learners from continuing to train their speech muscles! After each stumble, they continue to move their speech muscles again and again – until they build the muscle memory of their tongue for saying words and turn their speaking into a set of habitual actions.
But some people may interrupt, spoil, and discontinue such a natural learning process. For various reasons, they begin to misuse their speech instrument in early childhood and cease to develop their ability to play it adequately. Due to various mistakes in copying and making speech music, children become fearful of speaking, begin to hide from talking, and prefer to be silent during conversations. They choose to play their speech music only when it is absolutely necessary. Instead of deliberately correcting their natural mistakes according to the parent’s or teacher’s model, they avoid performing these “difficult” speech actions that they have not learned to do well yet and/or keep fighting their speech errors with their muscular strength. Such disoriented and silent children grow into confused and silent adults. They remain bad speech musicians for life. We call them people who stutter.
All stutterers are simply people who have not yet learned to play adequately on their muscular speech pipe. Because they play very little, these amateur speakers deprive themselves of the opportunity to tune their instrument naturally for the accurate extraction of speech sounds. Their muscular speech pipes remain out of tune, uncoordinated, and totally undeveloped for years. This is why stutterers have so many inaccuracies in their inept speech actions. Their speech errors are similar to the flaws of an inexperienced musician who still has not learned to play his musical instrument well. But these muscular mistakes are not symptoms of a sickness. It’s simply a lack of sufficient experience with playing speech music. Stutterers are completely healthy people and do not need any treatment. They are just inexperienced speech musicians. Their body grows, but their speech skills continue to remain in an underdeveloped and distorted state.
Why does such underdevelopment of playing speech-music skills occur in people?
The main reason for the fear and unwillingness to speak is rooted in early childhood. A young child is scared by the falsehood about being terminally ill. He truly believes the untruth that he cannot speak like everyone else and should talk only according to a special “medical” technique. That is, the child is guided to follow a pathological speech pattern, which is fundamentally different from the common speaking norms occurring naturally. Miseducated confused adult “helpers” and doctors force this disinformation on the young speech learner. They systematically and purposefully teach him to play music according to some “special technique,” which inevitably causes him to stupor. Because of believing this ridiculous untruth about the existence of a “stuttering sickness”, an ignorant and naive child becomes fearful of speaking. Frightened and misguided, he is not in the mood to learn how to play the speech music and cannot enjoy playing his own instrument!
Additionally, learning to speak “by the technique” and not in the way the adults around him speak is quite difficult, inconvenient, and even shameful. Convinced by various “helpers,” the young speech learner truly believes that the trivial mistakes he commits while playing music are symptoms of a stuttering sickness. Both his fear of the symptoms of a nonexistent illness and his useless attempts to speak according to a special technique prevent him from tuning his own speech instrument in a natural way. Such misleading adult guidance does not allow the child to calmly develop the skills of playing speech music in accordance with the generally accepted natural speech norms. As a result, his speech development stops, is delayed, or changes direction. A perfectly healthy person is being forced and trained for years to speak according to one or even several special “techniques”.
Later, when the child grows into adulthood, the speech instrument of a silent adult continues to remain out of tune. All kinds of speech techniques totally distort his natural speaking habits. Instead of learning how to use normally his speech pipe, he practices artificial techniques and develops a pathological condition called “stuttering.” The stutterer’s speech pipe is normal, but he uses it incorrectly. From early childhood, he has grown accustomed to using his speech pipe “backwards” and “inside out,” but blames a mythical illness for his own incorrect actions.
So, what should a stutterer do in order to quickly and permanently get rid of stuttering and start beautifully playing his speech pipe?
Like any musician, a speech trumpeter-beginner needs to
(1) consciously tune his speech instrument in the correct way, and then
(2) gain a personal, muscular experience of playing speech music on it.
Simply put, you need to first learn how to use your speech instrument for accurate speech production and then build your muscular skills of independent speech-music playing.